VA = An Investment Saving You Time & Money 

Small businesses often put off hiring extended teams until they’ve grown larger, if at all, but that could be a mistake that would actually delay business growth.  

At Venice Virtual we can help in the success of your business by identifying where we can add value, assisting you with marketing, social media, business support and in areas such as admin, PA, bookkeeping etc.  Therefore, the services we offer extend beyond simply minimising menial tasks but fully support your business growth and gives you an undeniably valuable benefit when it comes to saving time and money.

As a small business having that additional personal time is considered money well spent.  We are all guilty of trying to prioritise and prioritising right, however, getting a good balance is difficult.   

A key advantage of using an outsourced VA is that it saves you time that you can put to far better use. Hiring a VA allows you to ensure that the other areas of your company are being managed well whilst allowing you to focus on growing your business and fulfilling a better work-life balance.    

Over the last year or so we have seen a spike in self-care and promotion of mental wellbeing in the workplace as well as seeing that shift in our priorities.  Organisations have recognised that to avoid burnout they need to invest in time out to de-stress, whilst individuals have reassessed what is more important to them.  Having that additional help will allow you the time to consider taking more time for yourself as a small business owner which will, in turn, allow you to become more productive, more motivated and more creative at work.   

It is vital that you keep accurate financial records and stay on top of your operational processes. However, it is equally true that your efforts are most valuable when concentrated on your area of expertise.  It pays to hire an experienced VA who knows exactly where your company is positioned in relation to your market sector.  Many will have expertise spanning a wide range of skills, you will be able to save money whilst maintaining a great standard of work and they’re on hand when you need them 24/7.  

As we navigate a new normal, businesses are now embracing the hybrid work environment and feeling more comfortable hiring freelancers because they are not tied to a long-term commitment, as well as having to pay holiday rates and the other financial obligations that come with hiring in-house staff; a driving incentive for businesses in an unstable business climate following COVID-19.

You can leverage this knowledge to create your unique selling point, price your services appropriately and gain a competitive advantage. In short, finding an experienced VA allows you to benchmark your company which is incredibly expedient for growth.  

With over 15 years of expert experience, Venice Virtual is on hand to support the new wave in business demand. Whether it is a virtual assistant; event manager, bookkeeper or admin, we offer a variety of business support to suit your needs.  Give us a call today to see how we can help. 

Communication is Key to Improved Productivity 

Fostering a culture of good communication within teams, departments and clients is imperative in running a successful company. It’s fair to say, communication allows people to work better together, resulting in improved productivity.

In a digital age that has also been fast-tracked by the pandemic, the emphasis on good communication couldn’t come at a better time.  Finding good ways to communicate will enhance performance from workers, creating good relationships across the board, retaining staff loyalty and ultimately proving good for business.  Here are a few tips on how to keep those communication channels open.

Teamwork makes the Dreamwork 

It’s true to say, most organisations will have departments that run independently of each other but will often rely on one another at some point to operate successfully. Therefore, it is important to have a culture of open understanding between each other, working towards common business goals and working as a team.

Learning the roles of our colleagues within an organisation is key to aiding the company’s function and helping accelerate growth.

True to Transparency 

Companies need to practice transparency – what they offer their customers should also be adopted throughout their core business values. Therefore, transparency and honesty are seen as essential practices for workplace communication.

Delivering honest truthful feedback does not have to be harmful, far from it.  Finding a constructive way and offering solutions can boost morale, motivate teams and inspire others, this sets a good standard of work practice.

The clearer the message, the easier it is for people to distinguish what they need to do.

Feedback Works Both Ways 

When it comes to being productive, using feedback is important when making organisational or business improvements.  A big part of open communication in any organisation is to receive feedback on all levels and to listen to all sides.

Senior members of staff know how to communicate to their teams to ensure the best business operations.  However, in some cases, those who work in specific areas of the business may have more insight than those at the top, therefore it’s just as important to take note when feedback is given from those who are more hands-on.

Taking a more holistic approach to feedback will not only make people feel appreciated but will also encourage teams to work harder.  Without feedback, no one will ever know if they should change their approach.

Practicalities of Good Communication Channels 

Find a platform that delivers the best way to communicate with teams.  With varying work styles, it’s important to find one which suits the company and the team.  Something working well in one organisation may not work well in another and it is important to identify the best ways to share messages and to engage.

Investing in a platform or system dedicated to communication can prove invaluable, especially when breaking down barriers that hamper team interactions.

Do It Right 

Having good communication is paramount to building a successful business and it couldn’t be easier. Empowering staff with good communication skills will allow teams to work and feel better and ultimately boost productivity. A good manager will use communication to help align everyone with the business’ core values, bringing people together and emphasising clarity and honesty.

 

Getting a Comprehensive Business Plan Right

As we transition out of the challenges of the past year many businesses will find themselves thinking about pivoting their existing services, whilst others may be considering the opportunities of planning a new business. 

Having a detailed business plan is critical to any venture and could be the difference in being prepared to succeed, or fail at the first hurdle.  Creating a really detailed business plan will place you one step ahead. 

We’ve outlined some points which may be of help if you are thinking of starting a new business or looking at new strategies. It will help you understand your goals and keep you focused on strategy. At the same time, it can help secure vital investment for growing your business by identifying your KPI’s.  

Outline your Business Summary 

Start with an executive summary. This is a brief outline of your business plan that contains your proposal and objectives. The summary builds the foundation of your plan giving you a clear focus. 

Business Background 

This contains information about your business idea, what the services are and how everything works and the current stage of development. This is key to identifying the goals which need to be set and the direction the plan needs to follow. 

Your Services 

Include information about the services provided and detail any additional information about how your business will benefit the community and other local businesses. Be sure to cover all the benefits; costs, building relationships, impact on communities, services and so on. 

Strategy 

Prepare a SWOT analysis and include a detailed market breakdown. This will demonstrate your understanding of the market, your competitive stance and will help you identify opportunities at a later stage, and overall allow you to gain better insight. The strategy outlines ideas on how to build awareness and reach your potential customers. Write about how you plan to market your business and promote it. 

Business Operation 

Outline how everything runs and create a clear outline from suppliers, to produce, to operations, to marketing. In addition, you can also provide a clear picture of the key roles that the business requires.  This is particularly relevant information to any investor. 

Proposal 

Your business plan is all about getting that proposal to make sense and detail the benefits that your proposal brings to the table. 

Risk Assessment 

By setting out KPIs and flagging up any potential pitfalls it will be a useful tool when and if you want to pivot or seek funding for a struggling venture. 

Legal stuff 

When it comes to regulations and legalities, be prepared for a fair amount of paperwork. Unfortunately, there is no umbrella licence that covers all the necessary certifications and licences you need to apply to start up a business. Therefore, you should include all regulations and legalities in a dedicated section. 

Consistency is key   

A comprehensive plan can be very detailed so ensure you have concise, clear continuity and all the necessary details but also good flow. With these tips, you will be able to identify systems and processes that are the best fit for your business. Plan carefully and you’ll be one step closer to achieving your business goals.  

We love to inspire our audience and always want to hear your success stories, why not tag us on your journey and share your experience with us! 

Five Simple Reasons to Outsource

Operating your own business can be stressful and at times lonely and time-consuming. This is where having an experienced VA available to offer your business support is invaluable and a huge asset.   

Key Stats  

  • Over 300k roles are outsourced annually 
  • 59% organisations confirm they have reduced costs from outsourcing staff 
  • 65% of businesses are currently outsourcing 
  • 78% of businesses have arranged for future outsourcing or considering to 

 1)   Virtual assistants are offering more and more services, such as social media, graphic design, proofreading, content writing, and speech writing to support a flexible work-life balance.  These roles, within themselves, can be flexible allowing businesses to cover a range of tasks under one roof. 

 2)  Keeping track of business operations is time-consuming – outsourcing your business needs allows you to get back to doing what you do best and focus on bringing in customers. 

You no longer need to stress yourself out over something that feels like a chore when you could be putting that energy towards running your business?  

3)  Recognising that we need to work smarter, not harder, is key and constant evaluation of your work-life routine, helps you to know when you are becoming overloaded with a never-ending to-do list and tasks.  Outsourcing will allow you to focus on other important key areas in the business. 

4)  Outsourcing will help support and grow your business allowing you to deliver high-quality results.  You receive high-quality service but on a flexible basis to meet your needs and budget. 

5Outsourcing can reduce business costs significantly. You are not paying additional costs for breaks, holidayssickness, and pensionsas well as paying out on equipment and workspace.  

If you are considering trying out a new way to manage your business, why not try outsourcing to save you money and give you back valuable time. 

At Venice Virtual we can provide an affordable service, guaranteeing professional, personal, reliable, transparent, and efficient support whenever you need it. 

With over 20 years of experience, you have complete peace of mind that those crucial tasks are being carried out to the highest possible standard. 

 Choose Venice Virtual for all your outsourcing needs. 

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So, why is it important to hire a virtual assistant?

Discover the top 5 reasons why hiring a virtual assistant will give you the life you’ve always dreamed of;

 1     Save time doing mundane tasks and focus on completing more strategic tasks

There are many benefits to hiring a virtual assistant instead of a full-time member of staff. Not only do virtual assistants offer an extensive skillset ranging from call handling to managing social media posts and websites to bookkeeping, but by outsourcing time-consuming tasks you can focus on developing your business and taking it to the next level. Overnight you can turn a stressful situation with an endless list of marketing and admin tasks into a manageable one.

2     Have control of your human and financial resources

Virtual assistants enable you to manage your company’s resources better by offering flexible options that suit your workflow so you no longer need to hire staff and can manage your cash flow so that your bottom line remains healthy. You can vary the number of hours you pay for every month by booking blocks of time so you can manage your business costs according to periods of feast and famine.

3     Revolutionise your daily tasks and work on growing your business

Lots of business owners who have hired a virtual assistant have found that they are now able to channel their energy into moving their business forward and can focus on what they do best, safe in the knowledge that the tasks that they have outsourced will be carried out professionally and according to high standards and the best industry practice. With their own reputation at stake, virtual assistants are often more committed to doing a good job than employees.

4     Never worry about content for your social media posts again

One of the many jobs virtual assistants can do is manage social media accounts. Whether, that means creating a profile, publishing posts, creating content or simply replying to comments and liking other people’s posts. In the digital age, we live in this is an essential but tedious activity for any business owner and is usually best outsourced leaving the business owner free to work on growing their business in other ways.

5     Have the freedom to choose how you spend your time

Wouldn’t it be great to have your evenings and weekends free to spend time with your friends and family or indulge in your favourite past-time instead of having to work? Hiring a virtual assistant can solve this problem and give you back the free time that you crave so that you can achieve a better work-life balance and are ready to face the working week on a Monday morning, instead of feeling like you need another weekend to recharge your batteries.

So, why is it important to hire a virtual assistant? Because you work hard and DESERVE to have more free time and control over your resources and ultimately, your business. So, what are you waiting for? Call Venice Virtual today and take the first step to reaching your full potential!

 

 

 

New to Working from Home?

If you are new to working from home, here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. 80% of communication really is non-verbal.  Turn on video during your conferencing calls.
  1. If you are working from home full time, you need to ensure your seat supports your posture and that you take regular breaks from your screen, even if it means just looking up from time to time.
  1. If your step count has dropped significantly, devise a regular way to keep moving.
  1. Take some time to just chat to someone in your household or grab a virtual coffee with a colleague or friend.  Remote working should not make you feel alone.
  1. Look at your diary and re-imagine how it could work, just switching to digital may not be the only answer.
  1. Dogs bark, kids cry – there are many distractions, we all have lives.  Make people comfortable with this, I have noticed a mild professional stigma.  Homeworking is cool, I’ve been doing it for years, you just have to stay motivated.

Anything to add?  Please add your comments below to get the conversation started.

As well as taking regular breaks why not try some of these exercises to keep your muscles and bones moving and your heart pumping throughout the day, at your own risk of course!

 

 

 

How a Virtual Assistant can help to Brexit-proof your business

Britain has a new Prime Minister who is promising to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union by the end of October. It’s set to be an uncertain time for business – changes in supply chains, funding and legal requirements are definite but are still to be decided. Add to this a lack of consumer confidence and the business environment becomes a hotbed of uncertainty.

But Brexit doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Robust planning will enable you to position your business for Brexit success. Taking on this extra work can be challenging, and that’s where using a Virtual Assistant can help.

A good Virtual Assistant can step in and seamlessly assist your team with a minimum of fuss. You may have teams dedicated to preparing for Brexit and a Virtual Assistant can support them with tasks such as research, project management or preparing presentations.

Likewise, many businesses find that with so much resource dedicated to the impact of Brexit, they could benefit from an extra pair of hands to take care of day-to-day activities.  An experienced Virtual Assistant will give you the confidence to hand over time-consuming tasks such as bookkeeping or managing social media accounts – leaving you free to concentrate on getting ready to Brexit.

As well as this, using a Virtual Assistant service can help you to save money. Expensive costs associated with staffing are minimised, for example, there’s no need to invest in equipment or office space for your latest team member. This leaves you free to invest in other areas of your business or perhaps you’d rather use this money as a safety net over the next 12 months?

The flexibility offered by Virtual Assistants is another factor which could help you to successfully Brexit. Venice Virtual is ready to jump in and help when you need it. We work around the needs of the businesses on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ or retainer basis, giving you total control over the budget – imagine having the freedom to employ someone only when you need them!

So, with the next few months promising to be a rollercoaster of opportunities and threats to businesses, the question is:

Are you prepared to Brexit?

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Time Flies

Wondering Where January Went? 

Don’t Leave It Too Late Before Getting On Top Of Your Business!

They say that time flies when you’re having fun … and if you’re passionate about your business then you’ll probably find it flies just a little too quickly to get everything done!

There are always those few critical tasks that seem to slip through the cracks as the days, weeks and months go by, and before you know it:

● Your CRM software is horribly out of date
● Your diary looks like an ink-covered spider crawled over it
● Your email inbox is overflowing
● Your social media pages are a barren wasteland
● You have customer service issues backing up

And of course, if you managed to grab even a few days of relaxation over the festive holidays you could find these problems getting even worse!
But don’t worry … there is a simple, reliable and cost-effective way to get things back on track (and keep them there!).

Virtual office services are the perfect way to get all those pesky tasks back under control, helping your business run smoother as we push on into 2019.

Starting right now, a virtual office service could help you with any of the following:

●       Repetitive Tasks

From data entry to CRM maintenance, bringing in outside help can get the job done cheaper and with greater accuracy, whilst freeing up you and your team to focus on the core tasks in your business.

●     Skilled Tasks

Bookkeeping, email management, diary management … the list of day-to-day tasks required to keep a business in tip-top condition goes on forever. Virtual office services cover all this and more.

●     Tasks Outside Your Skillset

Let’s face it, there are some parts of running a business in today’s marketplace that are just unfamiliar to many of us. So whether it’s managing your presence on social media platforms or organising your next business event, using a virtual office service can get the job done to the highest standard, faster, and more cost effectively than trying to take it all on yourself, or hiring a full time staff member.

Why Virtual?

It’s a good question. After all, why would you trust your business to an “outsider” when you could employ someone to take on the tasks that need attention?

Well it comes down to cost … but not just the money.

Of course there is a financial cost to employing someone. And it’s considerable. On top of their salary, taking on a new employee will hit you with recruitment fees, training, desk space, equipment costs, plus you’ll need to pay pension and National Insurance contributions, sick pay, holiday pay, bonuses… it’s a long list!

Hiring a virtual office professional immediately dispenses with all these peripheral costs, so you’re really only paying for the work you have done.

But there’s an additional cost that is often unseen. When you use a reputable, professional virtual office service, you’ll get expert assistance in the areas you need. That’s not always the case when you choose to have the work done in house. When you put a member of your team on “social media duties” or task them with organising an event, their learning curve is paid for by your business. Every mistake, every missed opportunity for excellence, hits you on your bottom line.

So, if 2019 is already passing you by (yes, it really is February already!) then NOW is the time to act.

Call Venice Virtual for an obligation-free discussion about how we can bring our expertise and dedication to your business, saving you time, saving you stress and saving you money!

A Most Unusual Request!

Here at Venice Virtual we’re quite used to receiving unusual requests for help; but this week we took a call that was a little out of the ordinary, even for us!

It went a little something like this…

Caller: “Oh hello, yes. I have rather a large event coming up, and I was wondering if you could offer some help”

Venice Virtual: “Certainly, what kind of help are you looking for?”

Caller: “Well, I have two VERY large lists of names and to be honest, I’ve got myself in a complete tangle trying to keep them up to date and well maintained. Do you think you could give them a look through?”

Venice Virtual: “Absolutely! We’ll cast an expert eye over them and make sure everything is in order. Anything else?”

Caller: “Can you help with diary management? I’m working to a very specific deadline that absolutely can’t be missed and I have so much to do I just can’t see how I’m going to fit everything in.”

Venice Virtual: “That’s exactly the kind of challenge we love! Just let us know your deadline date and we’ll help make sure you’ve got everything organised with plenty of time to spare.”

Caller: “What about bookkeeping? I’ve got a stack of invoices from suppliers all around the world and, to be honest, my little helpers aren’t the best at keeping tabs on the finances.”

Venice Virtual: “No problem at all, just send us what you’ve got and we’ll get it all properly logged and accounted for.”

Caller: “And travel planning? I’ll be making a rather long journey very soon. It’s a bit of a logistical nightmare.”

Venice Virtual: “You just let us know where you need to go, and we’ll take care of it.”

Caller: “Oh, and how do you feel about customer service? You see, I’ve got more letters here with requests for products (and a few grumbles about last year’s deliveries) than I could possibly deal with in the time I’ve got. And they all seem so important!”

Venice Virtual: “Yes, of course, we can take care of that for you as well.  Is there anything else we can help you with?”

Caller: “Well, there is just one thing…

… how are you with reindeer?”

The truth is, Santa probably has Christmas well in hand by now … but whatever’s taking the festive spirit out of your work we can probably help. Just give us a call to find out more about our event management, social media and virtual office services.

In the meantime, we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Here’s to 2019!

Virtual Assistants … and Why You Probably Don’t Employ a Mechanic!

Here at Venice Virtual we’ve spent a lot of time recently trying to come up with the best ways to clearly explain what a Virtual Assistant service is, and why busy business people like you could benefit from a service like ours.

And then it hit us: you’ve been hiring Virtual Assistants for ages!

You already know all the benefits; you’ve already outsourced so much you’re probably as big an expert in the field as we are!

Let’s take an example.

You’re driving into the office one morning, and you hear an unfamiliar knocking noise coming from somewhere under the bonnet of your car. Now we all know cars develop these little (or sometimes big!) issues from time to time … but it would seem silly to employ a mechanic and keep him on standby (or busy him with tasks that aren’t in his skill set) just in case such a situation arises, wouldn’t it?

Of course, you could have a go at identifying and remedying the problem yourself. Perhaps you’ve even got some mechanical knowledge and a decently equipped toolbox. But you’ll need to find a spare few hours to undertake the investigation. And you’re going to have to roll up your
sleeves and get covered in oil, or try to squeeze into awkward spaces to see what’s going on.

It’s not everybody’s idea of fun.

The easiest solution? Drop your car off at a reliable garage. A qualified expert who knows what they’re doing will spend just as long as necessary fixing your problem. It’s faster, it’s much more cost-effective, and you get to focus on what’s really important to you while they do the work.

You see where we’re going with this, yes?

Just like your occasionally rattly car, there are tasks around your office which, whilst extremely important, either don’t merit taking on a full-time member of staff or are not within the core skills that you or your team possess. Perhaps, even, you simply don’t enjoy doing them! And that’s where a Virtual Assistant service comes to the rescue. Just like the trusted, qualified, time-served mechanic who will breathe new life into your ailing car, a great Virtual Assistant will take the hassle and stress out of the tasks you can’t or don’t want to perform and deliver you quality results.

It really is as simple as that!

So next time you think about taking the car to the garage (or going to the hairdressers, or having a chef cook you a meal in a restaurant, or…) take a moment to realise that outsourcing your requirements is actually something you already do all the time.

Doesn’t it make a lot of sense to do it around the office as well?!

For more information about the remote services Venice Virtual can offer, check out our services page, or call us for an obligation-free chat.